The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Baseball National Champions, Back-to-Back

Four interviews conducted by Greg Garcia, Chris Petersen, and Mike Dicianna.

October 2015 - July 2016


“The View from the Pitcher's Mound”  October 24, 2015  Location: The Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Gunderson discusses his early involvement in baseball, his first meetings with Pat Casey, and his earliest memories of being a Beaver. From there, Gunderson responds to a series of questions focusing on the 2005 season that resulted in the Beavers' first appearance in the College World Series since 1952. Of particular note are Gunderson's responses to questions concerning team chemistry and fan involvement as components of the team's success, as well as specific recollections of key games during the team's run through the playoffs. Gunderson then shares his memories of the squad's quick exit from Omaha in 2005, and the guarantee that he made to the media that the Beavers would return to the College World Series in 2006.

Gunderson then turns his attention to the 2006 season, commenting once again on team chemistry and fan involvement, and tracing OSU's path through the playoffs and on to Omaha. In recounting the team's run to the 2006 national championship, Gunderson specifically notes match-ups with Miami and Rice, as well as the national championship series versus North Carolina. He then details his recollections of the celebration that followed Oregon State's triumph in Omaha.

As it nears its conclusion, the session focuses on Gunderson's experiences in professional baseball, his impressions of the 2007 national champion OSU team, and his ambitions for the future. He likewise comments in greater detail on teammates Dallas Buck, Jonah Nickerson, and Mitch Canham; speaks of the mindset required to be a relief pitcher; shares insight into the life of the student athlete; and conveys his hopes for OSU baseball going forward.

“The View from Second Base”  October 24, 2015  Location: The Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In his interview, Kunda comments on his upbringing in Philomath and his earliest involvement with baseball. He then details the process by which he met Pat Casey, walked on to the OSU baseball team, and ultimately became a starter at second base. As with the Kevin Gunderson interview, Kunda shares his memories of his participation on the 2005 and 2006 College World Series teams, responding to questions about team chemistry, fan involvement, critical games during both the regular season and playoffs, and the celebrations that ensued following OSU's triumph in 2006.

From there, Kunda discusses his experiences in minor league baseball, and his more recent activities as a professional-level golfer. The interview concludes with Kunda's memories of Darwin Barney, the struggles that he faced academically, and the pride that he feels for Oregon State baseball today.

“The View from the Broadcast Booth”  July 8, 2016  Location: Goss Stadium, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

Parker's interview begins with a biographical sketch, including his earliest interests in sports broadcasting, his undergraduate years at the University of Oregon, and his memories of Oregon disbanding its baseball program. He then shares observations on former OSU baseball coach Jack Riley as well as current coach Pat Casey, and comments on the state of OSU baseball during the early 2000s.

Next, Parker provides a detailed review of the 2005 baseball season, noting in particular the impact of players Jacoby Ellsbury and Andy Jenkins, and recalling specific games during the regular season that were of particular importance. He likewise speaks to fan involvement in the program during that year; discusses the approach that the Beaver team took to participating in the College World Series for the first time since 1952; and analyzes the losses to Tulane and Baylor that led to Oregon State's elimination from the 2005 tournament.

Parker takes a similar approach to his recollections of the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Most notably, Parker shares his memories of crucial moments in the Beavers' 2006 World Series match-ups with Miami, Rice, and North Carolina. He also provides a detailed account of the conclusion of OSU's national championship-clinching Game 3 win, and the celebration that subsequently took place. With respect to the 2007 campaign, Parker places emphasis on the Beavers' regional and super-regional victories over Virginia and Michigan, and comments on the relative ease with which OSU marched through the World Series field in Omaha.

The interview concludes with Parker's thoughts on the continuing importance of collegiate athletics; expressions of gratitude for the experiences that he has had as the Voice of the Beavers; and notes on family life in Corvallis.

“The View from the Dugout”  July 11, 2016  Location: Gill Coliseum, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

At the outset, Casey's interview focuses on his earliest interests in baseball, his memories of Coach Jack Riley, the details of his first season in charge of the Oregon State baseball program, and the evolution of his coaching philosophy. He then comments on the construction of Goss Stadium, the involvement in the program of Norb and Ann Wellman, and the progress that the program made following conference unification in the early 2000s.

From there, Casey shares his insight into the 2005, 2006, and 2007 College World Series seasons, commenting on team chemistry and excitement within the fan base during all three years. Casey shares specific recollections of the 2005 super-regional match-up with USC, as well as the team's 4-3 loss to Baylor that eliminated Oregon State from the 2005 tournament. He likewise recalls the club's 2006 championship series versus North Carolina, as well as OSU's dominating run through the 2007 tournament.

Casey then responds to questions concerning the push that led to conference unification within what was then the Pac-10; the performance of pitcher Jonah Nickerson in the 2006 College World Series; personal memories of Chris Kunda and Darwin Barney; the challenges posed by recruiting high profile athletes; and his approach to counseling players who are considering leaving school early. He likewise shares his thoughts on preparing for conference opponents week in and week out, including scouting; the amount of time that he devotes to fundraising; and, as a concluding topic, his sense of the OSU Athletic Department at this point in time.